Hints on Genesis 22-50

CHAPTER 22 gives us Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac at mount Moriah, and thereupon the promise confirmed to the One Seed, not to the numerous seed, but the promise of blessing to all nations in chapter 12 confirmed to the Seed; and this after death and resurrection, which gives us a completely new principle.
Abraham has given up the promises according to life here, and taken them in resurrection, “accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure.” (Heb. 11) All was taken up in resurrection, founded upon sacrifice to God.
Then in chapter 23 just as the old vessel of promise dies, Sarah is not the church now in any sense, but the Jews; the vessel dies, that is, Israel is really set aside.
Isaac being the heir of everything, Abraham sends down what represents the Holy Ghost—Eliezer—to get a wife for his risen son. Isaac is on no account to go back to the old land; he represents the risen Christ.
So Abraham sends down his chief servant to get a wife out of the place of his own family for the heir of promise. Eliezer confers gifts on her and brings her out, all things being given to the son and heir. Abraham sends his other son away, but Isaac's wife is brought into the place of the vessel of promise, Sarah's tent.
That is all the history of Isaac. (Chap, 24)
The Jews were the vessel of promise, and now the church has become so.
When we come to Isaac old and blind, the history leans really on Jacob. We have done with all the first great principles of faith, and the risen one, Isaac, and we find the Jewish history in Jacob. It is the history of Christ in a way all through, but the history of the heir in connection with the earthly promises; whereas Isaac was figurative of the heavenly ones. Jacob gets a wife in Padan-aram the house of Bethuel his mother's father, but Abraham tells Eliezer, “Beware thou, that thou bring not my son thither again.”
Then we get Jacob, who is a poor sample anyhow, but who values the promise, though for the earth, while Esau does not, but forfeits his birthright. It is by grace Jacob comes in because he had no title, Esau had title but in the election of grace the elder was to serve the younger. In point of fact it comes about by the profanity of Esau, while Jacob does value it though the means by which he got it were evil.
That is a great lesson. We now have to do with the means. God secures the result, and all we have to say to is the right means. Isaac could have crossed his bands, or in many a way have acted under God's control, just as Jacob did afterward with his own grandchildren, without his going and listening to his mother and deceiving. Then we have the renewal of the promise to Isaac; at the same time he is forbidden to go down into Egypt. He has never anything to say to the world in his Isaac character. He is not to go into it himself, but his wife is to come out of it. Alas! he follows his father's example and denies his wife, not in Egypt, but in the place of the Philistines. It was his failing in the place of promise. I think you get Isaac upon lower ground altogether: he digs up again the wells his father first dug which the Philistines had stopped, and then surrenders them. You get decay, besides denying his wife; but when he comes into the place which God had given as a limit, to Beersheba—there they have to own him when he is within his limits. Before it was a contention with the spirit of the world where he was, and he has to yield.
Now we get Esau and Jacob, and Jacob gets the blessing as he got the birthright, still by deceit. As we saw before, Jacob does go down to get his wife himself. I have no doubt that Leah represents the Gentiles and Rachel the Jews. And we are down upon the earth, we find Jacob looking for blessing here, and be promises tithes. (Chap, 28:22.) And God does take care of him, but this is not enough. He goes acting with duplicity towards man. It is worse than earthly ground indeed here, though God still takes care of him.
If Jacob at all represents the Lord here, it is not in his conduct. He loves Rachel who represents the Jews, but he gets Leah instead of Rachel, and is there paid in his own coin. At the present time Gentiles are being blessed instead of Jews. God blesses Leah; but then you must mark all the wretched course of the low state of faith. Laban cheats him and he cheats Laban. There was faith in a sense, but faith going through a thoroughly carnal way to get the blessing. Then Jacob runs away. God does take care of him, and brings him back to the land, as He will bring back Israel. After he had been a slave twenty-one years, He brings him back with his children. You get Mizpah or Jegar-sahadutha or Galeed, and much instruction in it all, for the Lord takes care of the believer; but where he walks in this low carnal way he is chastened through and through; twenty-one years a slave-cheat, and 13 cheated; he believed and got to be believed; but his means were carnal, and it was discipline in every possible way because he walked carnally. Then Esau is coming, and poor Jacob again lies, sends all the troops before him, flocks and so on; God sends two hosts of angels to meet him; but how little of real faith! He sees God's hand and says, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which thou hast showed unto thy servant: for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands.”
You see the arrangements; you see all the weakness of this carnal system, though he did trust God in the main. It was all a low kind of life. God does not allow Esau to touch him, yet he says, I cannot overdrive the cattle a day or they will all die, “let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant, and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me, and the children be able to endure until I come unto my lord to Seir.” Yet he had not the most distant idea of going to Seir. Then having sent away the cattle he remains behind. (Chap, 32:23-24.) “Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the break of day.” God, who would not allow anybody to touch him, takes him in hand Himself, wrestles with him, gives him grace to overcome, but will not reveal Himself, and makes Jacob halt all his life. It is all discipline, though there is blessing. Jacob gets blessing because he believed in the promise.
It is very hard in Jacob's story not to get into detail. You get a great deal more experience in one who is walking badly than in one who is walking well; you have not a bit of all this in Abraham. But it always is so: in ups and downs a great deal more of what you call experience, if not walking well. The other's life is much simpler. All was given. All in a word in Enoch's case, “He walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” Mark the difference again between Abraham and this: Abraham is up on high interceding with God for others, and Jacob down at the brook wrestling for himself. Jacob was a prince with God and prevailed; but it was God wrestling with him and would not reveal Himself. Abraham interceded for others, and wrestles for nothing for himself: whereas Jacob has to contend for himself to get the blessing. He did get the blessing, for there was power through grace. Then another thing: he goes and builds an altar, making another blunder, buys a piece of land, and so on. Abraham bought a sepulcher: that was all. Jacob settles in the place; then these wicked people propose to marry and go on together. The altar he built he called El-elohe-Israel, God the God of Israel, with difference from his former altar. God had given him strength to prevail, but He did not reveal Himself to him: there was power given in the conflict, but no revelation of God. And then come all the affairs of Dinah and Simeon and so on, all bad together; whereon God says to him, Do you go up to Bethel: this was where he started from.
God says, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there, and make there an altar unto God that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.” The moment God says so, out comes what Jacob knew all the time he had never done with: there was a quantity of idols in the house, and now he thinks of it; it is not that he did not know of it, for he did, but there is no real putting away of idols until we get into the presence of God. Observe, when the idols are buried, the first thing God did was to tell him His name. He did not before, but now that is the first thing: “God appeared unto him” and said unto him, “I am God Almighty,” the name He had given Himself to Abraham. And then, though the intercourse was short and there was no intercession for others, God went up from him just as He did from Abraham. You do not get here as much bright blessing, but God does reveal Himself now and talks with Jacob and does not wrestle with him. This brings us back to the history of Israel. Jacob goes through humbling discipline, and at last God is revealed to him; then in Rachel's dying who represents Israel (she had borne Joseph, figure of Christ) we have Benjamin, that is, Christ going to the right hand of God. Rachel called him Benoni, son of my afflictions; but his father called him Benjamin the son of my right hand. “When this man was born, then Israel (Rachel) was cut off, but his father takes him as son of the right hand of God. But Israel is ended in that character entirely.
Next, the world is seen set up in power before ever God's people are (that is, Esau): no want of kings and dukes there. That closes the history of Jacob really.
Now we have the history of Joseph, that is, in the main. His brothers, Jacob's sods, were a good-for-nothing set as ever were; and Joseph with all his dreams, and interpreting, gives us “the wisdom of God,” but himself a despised one. Soon after we get him manifested as “the power of God.” He is a distinct figure of Christ, rejected by his brethren, sold to the Gentiles; shows himself there, the patient godly one, and having the wisdom of God, while he is the delight of his father too; and then he is exalted to the right hand of power.
It is a well-known history. Everything in the world (Egypt) is ruled by him, and in that character he receives back his repentant brethren, and puts them into the first place in the world; that is, Israel. In the middle of all that, you get Judah going on with wickedness in chapter 38: really it is the genealogy of the Lord Himself in flesh. And that is the whole history until you come to Jacob going down to Egypt, and that type closes (never run one type into another), and there he dwells in the land of Goshen. Still Jacob looks to the land as the place of inheritance to be buried there; and, remark, Joseph becomes the first-born, the heir; the birthright is his. It is Christ in that character. It is said so in terms in 1 Chronicles that the birthright was Joseph's. In chapter 48. Jacob crosses his hands to put the sons rightly in their place; as in chapter 47 you see how he could bless Pharaoh, though without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. Thus Jacob blesses the king of the earth.
Then you find the blessing of the children of Israel, and I think that of Jacob is a general view of Israel. The blessing of Moses is much more historical. This is general, and down to Dan, with the exception of Zebulon, you get present blessing. The place of strength and power was in Judah; though it goes on after all with failure, Judah was in the place of power and that is judgment in one shape or another; and then in Dan you find the power of evil. Outwardly Dan lost his place and had no place. I suppose the apostasy is connected with it. The Jews had a tradition that Antichrist will be of his tribe.
All is failure in Israel until you come to “I have waited for thy salvation, Ο Jehovah.”
Reuben, Simeon, and Levi are corrupt and violent, Judah is connected with God's purposes as to the royal stock; Zebulon, a haven of ships, and Issachar, a strong ass burdened, are linked with prosperity in commerce with the nations, or Gentiles; then Dan is to judge his people. Thus when Israel joins with the Gentiles in that way (Zebulon and Issachar) you get the serpent brought in; and then Gad is overcome but overcomes at last; and then all is power and blessing after that in Ashar and Napthali, in Benjamin and Joseph.
It is the history of the tribes of Israel divided into two parts. All is failure first, and then abundant blessing.
At the end (chap. 1) whatever power and magnificence Joseph had, his heart is in Israel; and he waits for his bones to be taken up when they should go back to the land, for they had buried Jacob in the land, and he passes in faith over the Egyptian bondage and looks on to their return to Canaan.
Courtesy of BibleTruthPublishers.com. Most likely this text has not been proofread. Any suggestions for spelling or punctuation corrections would be warmly received. Please email them to: BTPmail@bibletruthpublishers.com.